The Importance of Humiliation

We Appreciate Humility but don’t Appreciate How It’s Earned

During mass, the priest mentioned that people appreciate humility, but don’t appreciate how it’s earned. Often times, people learn humility through humiliation, an uncomfortable state that many despise. It can be brought upon by intimidation, physical or mental mistreatment, and embarrassment. No one likes to feel put down or feeling less than they are, but sometimes those feelings point to areas in our life that we need to fix.

Waltz of the Flowers

I’ve had my share of humiliation stories that have humbled me. When I was younger, I messed up during a piano recital playing Waltz of the Flowers and burst into tears. My parents, my friend, and piano teacher were in attendance, and I was embarrassed because I let them down. I also was disappointed in myself because I didn’t practice the week of the recital. Since that recital, I haven’t played in public since. My embarrassment and humiliation taught me to keep practicing even if I think I know the piece.

Abusive Relationship Taught me Humility

I have mentioned this abusive relationship in other posts, but it taught me strong lessons through humiliation. First, it taught me that I need to be more assertive when someone is mistreating me. I thought “saving” the person was going to make everything better. Lies. You can only save yourself, and not save other people. Second, even though it’s painful to leave a relationship, if the relationship isn’t bettering you or making you happy, leave. The temporary pain is worth it. Third, even though being dumped and insulted through text is awful, at least I won’t spend my life in misery with someone who never appreciated me.

What Humiliation Taught me in my Student Teaching Fiasco

In this post, I wrote about my feelings towards having to resign from student teaching and start over. The day I was asked to resign from student teaching was the day before my birthday. I conducted a math lesson that went badly, and my mentor teacher was pissed. She told me that she wasted her time spending two hours last Friday helping me prep for a half hour lesson and that she didn’t know how much more guidance I needed. She said that she had to move on with the math lesson and couldn’t wait for me. I remember going to my desk, and her asking me if I was feeling well. I lied to her and flatly said I had a cold. I then gathered my things, left her room, and burst out crying. This humiliation experience taught me a couple lessons.

  • If I feel my mentor teacher isn’t helping me, I should have told my teaching supervisor right away instead of waiting until the last minute.
  • Be clear with my mentor teacher on my expectations and her expectations.
  • Be open with both my mentor teacher and my teaching supervisor about my struggles.
  • Be organized.
  • Assertiveness is important to getting what you want.

I don’t like humiliation, but it has humbled me much to my chagrin. I’ve gained important lessons and insight that I bring to other life experiences.

Photo By: By Arwen Abendstem [CC BY 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

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